Newest Review: ... of having untoward intentions. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Devil is one of these films which I expected very little ... more
Member Name: zombieflesh
Advantages: works ok if you view it as a modern-day take on religious folklore
Disadvantages: characters lack depth and development, no suspense or horror
Running time: 1 hour 16 minutes
Directed by: Drew Dowdle, John Erick Dowdle
Starring: Geoffrey Arend, Chris Messina, Logan Marshall-Green, Bojana Novakovic, Joshua Peace
Certificate rating: 15
Tagline: Step into the hellevator
Description: From an idea by M. Night Shyamalan (THE SIXTH SENSE) and director John Erick Dowdle (QUARANTINE) comes the ultimate in supernatural horror; DEVIL. The film concerns a group that becomes stranded in a lift after it breaks down. Frightened by the uncertainty of their predicament, and tempers frayed by their claustrophobia-inducing surroundings, the situation looks like it cannot get any worse when the members of the group discover that one of them is the devil himself, but which of them is it?
I have been wanting to watch Devil for ages, after being rather excited by the trailer which made it look very appealing and right up my street. Every time I saw the trailer I thought to myself how much I wanted to watch the film, but I have a strict personal policy on not buying DVDs unless I've already watched it and know it's going to be good enough for my collection. So, I waited patiently and was pleased to notice that lovefilm.com have just made Devil available for free streaming to anyone who has a subscription. Luckily I didn't waste my money on purchasing a copy of the movie, as it was a complete let down in practically every way!
The trailer for Devil presents us with a group of 5 people trapped in a lift, one of whom just so happens to be the devil in human form. Based on the presentation of the trailer I was expecting a scary film with a claustrophobic feel that comes from being trapped and unable to escape from the situation. What the trailer doesn't show you is that the lift scenes are only part of the story. The majority of the film takes places from the perspective of characters outside the lift, trying to figure out what is doing on and help rescue the group from the broken-down lift. I think that this is a major mistake as it really lessens the tension and the scenes from within the lift seem really lacking in atmosphere.
On a positive note there are some beautiful cityscape shots that are presented with saturated colour filters and accompanied by some dramatic music, but then as soon as the camera cuts back inside to where the "action" is going on, the atmosphere quickly drains away and I spent the majority of the film feeling incredibly bored. The lift captives are not completely cut off by their predicament as they can be viewed by the building's security guards through a CCTV set-up. One of the security guards is Mexican and has a heavily religious background. His explanation of the circumstances is probably the most interesting and engaging part of the film, but at times is just plain laughable. There is very little in the way of credibility to any of the performances here and the actors are working with a script that provides practically no substance. For a situation where there are 5 people trapped in a lift, I would have expected the action to be heavily focused on them, and wanted to learn more about each of them and their backstory. Unfortunately the characters lack depth and development so it was impossible for me to care about any of them, and instead I was just wishing for them all to hurry up and snuff it.
My main issue with the film is that it's just not scary. I mean, come on, the motherflipping DEVIL is stuck in a lift with a bunch of sinners, ready to steal their souls away and send them packing off to hell, so surely some badass shit is gonna go down? But, no. I kept thinking to myself that there were many wasted opportunities and the "scary" moments were completely flat and un-shocking. The action is hidden by flashy lighting techniques and the violence is practically non-existent. I cannot call this a horror film, there is literally nothing in the way of building suspense or tension. It works ok if you look upon it as a modern-day taken on religious folklore, but the overall feeling of the film is very weak and clichéd with obvious stereotyped characters. It then turns into more of a "whodunit" murder mystery type scenario, with you trying to guess which one of the 5 is the devil. By the time it was revealed I was past caring, although I had guessed correctly which was something of a minor achievement.
This isn't the worst film I've seen, but the reason I've been so harsh with the rating is that the film has been portrayed to be something that it is not. Based on the intense, sharply edited, action-filled trailer, I was expecting to see a dark horror film with plenty of scares. Instead it is nothing more than a clichéd morality tale with a little mystery involved as we try and guess who the devil is. The film was a real let down based on my expectations from the trailer, and I would not recommend watching it.
Summary: Going down...